A new outlook
Last month, the English department at the school where I teach adopted three families who had fled an abusive situation and sought safety in a shelter. My journalism students and I decided that we would support one of these families - a pregnant mom and a nine-year-old boy. They left their unsafe home with only the clothes on their backs. They "possessed" only fear and uncertainty. Their list of needs was great because they had nothing. We decided right away that everything we would give them would be new, not used. They had received enough second-best and afterthoughts, and I personally wanted to offer them a sense of the newness that Jesus is offering each one of us.
Jesus didn't die for us in order to make us better. He sacrificed to make us new. 2 Cor. 5:17 says, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" He wants to give each of us a "receipt," the confirmation of his Word, that guarantees that our salvation isn't used or worn, but new and made just for us.
This month, commit to providing something new in the life of someone who is feeling used, struggling financially, physically, or emotionally. Within your small group, brainstorm what would be the best purchase for this person. Consider:
- A new mattress for a pregnant mom.
- A new part for a car (alternator, battery, starter) that is not reliable.
- A new appliance (dishwasher, microwave, washer or dryer).
- A new computer for a college student.
Collect money each week until you have enough for the purchase. Creatively alert the recipient of the new item with a gift certificate or award. Deliver the item with a signed card from the entire group. Throughout the year, continue to gift this person with fun accessories: sheets for the new bed, a keychain for the car that is now running, a set of trendy glasses or dish towels for the new appliance, or a pack of CD's to use with the new computer. Remember to pray for this person and, when appropriate, invite him or her to your small group.
Small group leaders, encourage your group members to:
- Give a new book to a child.
- Invite a newcomer from your church, neighborhood, or workplace to coffee.
- Take a new teenager to a movie - all expenses paid.